Clinically relevant interpretation of solid phase assays for HLA antibody

Maria Bettinotti, Andrea A. Zachary, Mary S. Leffell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Accurate and timely detection and characterization of human leukocyte antigen (HLA) antibodies are critical for pre-transplant and post-transplant immunological risk assessment. Solid phase immunoassays have provided increased sensitivity and specificity, but test interpretation is not always straightforward. This review will discuss the result interpretation considering technical limitations; assessment of relative antibody strength; and the integration of data for risk stratification from complementary testing and the patientʼs immunological history. RECENT FINDINGS: Laboratory and clinical studies have provided insight into causes of test failures – false positive reactions because of antibodies to denatured HLA antigens and false negative reactions resulting from test interference and/or loss of native epitopes. Test modifications permit detection of complement-binding antibodies and determination of the IgG subclasses. The high degree of specificity of single antigen solid phase immunoassays has revealed the complexity and clinical relevance of antibodies to HLA-C, HLA-DQ, and HLA-DP antigens. Determination of antibody specificity for HLA epitopes enables identification of incompatible antigens not included in test kits. SUMMARY: Detection and characterization of HLA antibodies with solid phase immunoassays has led to increased understanding of the role of those antibodies in graft rejection, improved treatment of antibody-mediated rejection, and increased opportunities for transplantation. However, realization of these benefits requires careful and accurate interpretation of test results.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 License, where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCurrent Opinion in Organ Transplantation
Publication statusAccepted/In press - May 19 2016


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Transplantation

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